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Graduate School

A Master’s Degree in TESOL: Guiding Graduate Students to Find Meaning in Working with Immigrant and International Students in our Community and around the World


Over the last 35 years Eastern Michigan University’s Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program has developed into a versatile opportunity for those at any moment in their career path looking to utilize a myriad of skills and experience. Professionals and students in English and the humanities, health care, business, and communication fields (to just name a few) have found success and fulfillment in TESOL as well as a great use of their interpersonal skills. Whether you are a professional looking for a career change or a recent graduate looking for the next step in your course of study, EMU’s Masters in TESOL is a degree that will not only help you find employment, but also give you a chance to do something meaningful in your work and community.  

EMU is able to provide not only a theoretical grounding, but also rich practical, hands on experience unavailable at Research I institutions. With a faculty that makes it a point to publish and present along with their students, there is no lack of academic venue for a student to gain the experience and recognition they deserve. This faculty is also instrumental in bringing a focus on out-the-classroom, off-campus experiences. Classes like Second Language Methods and Materials (TSLN 530/531) is, in its newest form, an academic service-learning (ASL) class, which reflects a revolutionary commitment to maximizing students’ professional development through collaboration with local non-profit organizations such as Washtenaw Literacy. As part of the course requirements, students work with their peers and professor to field-test their methodology and lesson plans in an actual classroom setting. Catering to Ypsilanti’s unique immigrant populations, TESOL graduate students help immigrant students develop communication skills so that they can better utilize the skills and talents they bring with them and integrate them into more active roles in the greater community. This specific goal is integral to the work of Grace Pang and David Christensen—TESOL graduate students enrolled in TSLN 530/531 who are teaching high beginners while also preparing a newsletter designed to promote civic engagement among the immigrant population. In Grace’s words, “these students want to be part of what is happening in our community, but they don’t know where to start and they feel intimidated because of their low English proficiency.” Working closely with these students and the CivCity Initiative—a non-profit in Ann Arbor, David and Grace are creating a resource that would be informative, empowering, and accessible to this population. “This course provides a wonderful chance to work with and for the citizens of this community in ways that have a tangible impact on their everyday lives,” comments David.

It is opportunities like these that not only distinguish the field as an exciting, dynamic, and incredibly useful career path, but EMU as a premier and innovative institution on the forefront of making TESOL a multidisciplinary career option.  As Assistant Professor of ESL/TESOL Zuzana Tomaš, Ph.D. succinctly summarizes, “With a Masters in TESOL you can teach around the world, teach English as a Second Language in the U.S., work for non-profits, and language assessment organizations. There are so many exciting and meaningful careers available and so many people could be so great at them, but they are just not really aware that this is an option.” 


For student testimonials you can watch a short 2-minute video about the TESOL program.  If you are interested in TESOL or looking for more options from your education and work experience contact the TESOL advisor at